Maple Lemon Meringue Pie with Gluten-Free Nut Crust
by Monarda Thrasher | Guest contributor
Everytime I bring a pie with this nut crust to a gathering, I am showered with compliments! When I tell them what’s in it, nuts, butter and maple syrup, there’s a look of understanding and how their tongue swooned.
I eat a high-fat diet, so I’ve tailored my taste buds to love “the good fat” kind of foods. Eating this pie crust doesn’t have me missing wheat/gluten, ‘cause it’s not trying to be what gluten is – flaky, light and endorphin-stimulating. This pie crust is it’s own thing – rich, nutty and earthy from the maple.
It’s easy to make, but because the consistency is different from a flour crust, it’s hard to get it to look just right. I am not trying to wow people with the presentation. I don’t mind having my creation look a little messy, it makes them all the more surprised when the flavors dance in their mouth from the first bite.
I’ve played around with this lemon filling, experimenting with different lemon flavors. Lemon Balm, Lemongrass, Lemon Verbena. All of these Lemony herbs are amazing in this pie, individually and together! I hope you have fun experimenting with it, too.
Part 1: The Crust
1 C blend of Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Hemp Hearts, Pumpkin Seeds
¾ C blend of half Sorghum and half Tapioca flour or Arrowroot starch/pow
½ C Organic Butter (room temp)
¼ C Maple Valley Organic Maple Syrup (Dark & Robust or Amber & Rich)
¼ tsp Salt
½ tsp Vanilla (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Blend the nuts in a food processor. Add salt, flours, butter and maple syrup and blend. If using a food processor, this will be a “crunchy” dough. You can use a VitaMix to get a smoother dough.
- Press the dough into a 9-inch greased and floured pie pan.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges just start to brown. Then remove from heat.
Part 2: The Lemony Filling
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.
¾ C Lemon Juice and/or strong lemon balm/lemongrass/lemon verbena tea*
2-3 Zested Lemon Rinds
3/4 C Maple Valley Syrup (up to 1 C for a sweeter pie)
6 T Tapioca or Arrowroot mixed with 8 T room temp water
5 Egg Yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
1.5 T Organic Butter
- Cook lemon juice, zest, maple syrup, tapioca/arrowroot mixture in a pot over medium heat, whisking/stirring constantly.
- When it starts to thicken, remove from heat.
- Let cool (while making the meringue), then fold in the egg yolks.
Part 3: the Meringue
While the filling is cooling, prepare the meringue
½- 1 tsp Vanilla
½ tsp fresh Cream of Tartar (optional- this helps the eggs set more firmly)
Pinch of Salt
5 Egg Whites – room temperature!
¼ C Organic Maple Sugar or Syrup (sugar is better, as it isn’t liquid)
- Beat room temperature egg whites (this is very important, cold egg whites will not “set”) with a pinch of salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
- Add maple sugar or syrup, vanilla and continue to beat until stiff peaks.
Part 4: The Pie – Creation, Baking and Eating
- Pour lemon filling onto the cooled, pre-cooked crust.
- Gently place the meringue on top of the filling, starting with the edges. (Check out a YouTube video to learn how to make the little peaks with the back of a spoon.)
- Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. I think it looks nice with a little bit of black, so I allow the top peaks to char.